BY JOHN CHARLES WILSON
Metro Transit has published the service changes for June 8, 2019, and I have some unofficial information to share about possible changes (and one sure one) coming in August.
First, the changes that affect the Southside Pride readership directly are in June:
Two additional morning trips on Route 11 will be extended to Washburn High School. (Why this is being done in the summer instead of the fall, I don’t know.)
Routes 133, 156, 552, 553, 558 and 578 will have some service trimmed due to low usage. For the most part, the eliminated trips are at the edges of the a.m. and p.m. rush hours, around 6 and 9 a.m., and around 6 p.m.. Since these are express routes that have local service on the same streets or nearby, this shouldn’t cause much hardship.
Route 535 will no longer run on weekends. This bodes ill for the Orange Line project coming in a few years, as it will be very similar to the current Route 535. Will it be a white elephant like the Red Line?
Route 554 is having one trip moved eight minutes later in the morning. Go ahead, Route 554 riders, use that snooze button! (But only once … )
Second, the change everyone is waiting with bated breath for, even though it’s “over North”: The C Line will have its Grand Opening! Fast, frequent buses will ply Penn Avenue North from the Floyd B. Olson Memorial Highway to Brooklyn Boulevard and on to Brooklyn Center Transit Center. Attention, Walmart shoppers! In all seriousness, however, this is really a good thing.
Now for the changes expected in August: None of these directly affect the Southside Pride readership area, but they may affect people we care about.
The Green Line will lose two trips in each direction Monday through Friday between 2 and 4 a.m. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t to yank the train out from under the homeless, but to give maintenance crews time to work on the tracks with the overhead wire turned off. And if you believe that … Well, I actually partly believe it, as maintenance time is a legitimate issue. But I bet the Met Council considers it a nice side effect that the homeless won’t be able to ride the trains all night (except on weekends). It’s just like when San Francisco BART closed all underground station bathrooms after 9/11 “to prevent terrorism”… I still think they were, at least in their own minds, spelling “terrorist” H-O-M-E-L-E-S-S. After all, the above-ground BART stations (which are mostly in higher-income areas) got to keep their bathrooms, but I digress. Anyway, the old 16 bus will run in lieu of the Green Line during those two hours, so people who really need to go to or from Saint Paul in the middle of the night won’t be deprived.
Route 62, which had a service improvement a couple of years ago as a demonstration project, apparently didn’t make the cut, and will go back to the service it had before. This is very sad, as even with the improvement, Route 62 is often overcrowded. This one is not for sure yet.
Route 219 is also apparently being considered for a service cut. As the 219 is overcrowded on weekday afternoons and Saturdays, I hope this stays just a rumor unless they put bigger buses on this route. Currently, the 219 uses the same type of buses that provide Metro Mobility service.
Well anyway, that’s all the transit news this month. Stay cool and be super safe!